Three months after winning the league there, Bayern traveled to Berlin to face Alba in the so-called Champions Cup, a glorified preseason game between the league champs and the cup winners. It's pretty much exactly like the Supercup in football.
Both teams were missing a couple of important players. Bayern had to do without Bryce Taylor, Anton Gavel and Paul Zipser, and all three are also very doubtful for the season opener on Thursday. In the squad were Vladimir Stimac and Karim Jallow, a 17-year-old guard usually playing for the Bavarian youth teams. The FCBB starting five looked like this:
PG: Heiko Schaffartzik
SG: Nihad Djedovic
SF: Robin Benzing
PF: Dusko Savanovic
C: John Bryant
The first quarter was awful. Ugly. Nasty. Whatever word you choose, it wasn't pretty. The team struggled to generate much, and the shots they got, mainly John Bryant in the post and Savanovic from long range, just didn't fall. The defense wasn't that much better, as Alba were allowed many easy baskets, especially their new big guy Jamel McLean who dominated Bayern down low. The first quarter ended with a 10-point lead for Berlin. Bayern had only scored 11 points in 10 minutes.
The second quarter was, simply put, the exact same shit. Bayern got some open looks but couldn't hit a thing. When the time expired to end the first half, Berlin had doubled their lead. At 45-25, the game was basically over. Things were at a low when coach Svetislav Pesic got himself thrown out of the game by the refs at half time. Whether he tried to motivate his team or simply lost his mind, I have no idea. Either way, it seemed to work.
Things looked completely different in the second half. Bayern finally started to make some shots, and the defense looked improved as well. While coming back from a 20-point deficit was close to impossible, you can't say that they didn't try. The third quarter was all Bayern, Alba's lead reduced to 11.
When Heiko Schaffartzik (for some reason there was no booing this time) hit a three-pointer with two minutes to go, people suddenly started to get nervous. An 8-point lead for the hosts no longer seemed to be safe. Both Savanovic and Djedovic had a chance to get Bayern within 5 but missed their shots. So the game ended with a 76-68 win for Berlin who won the unimportant Champions Cup for the third time.
There is no need for any analysis, the first half cost Bayern the game. You don't win games against good opponents when you lose the first half by 20 points. The performance after the break was good, the FCB Baskets outscored Alba by 12 points in the second half.
It's just as easy to find the scapegoat: the shooting. Bayern's shooting percentage in the first half, excluding the life-saving free throws, was 13%. 13 PERCENT. Go to your local gym right now and you'll see better shooting. You can argue about the defense allowing too many easy baskets or whatever you didn't like, but such a ridiculously low shot accuracy will always be the main cause.
- John Bryant looked fit. John Bryant looked good. Didn't hit all his shots, but he tried and worked hard.
- Vladimir Stimac is a mad man. Full of energy and loud as hell. He'll bring the team back to life in some games and be ejected in others.
- Dusko Savanovic shouldn't be called power forward. All the reports were true. He spends most of his time going outside to go for a long-range attempt.
- Vasilije Micic is talented as hell. His stats weren't impressive and his performance sometimes unlucky, but he creates so many open shots for his teammates. He might be Malcolm Delaney's anti-matter.
|Alba Berlin - FCBB|
|Final score||76-68 (HT 45-25)|
|Most points||Bryant (14), Schaffartzik/Staiger/Stimac (10)|
|Most rebounds||Bryant (9), Stimac (8), Jagla/Savanovic (6)|
|Most assists||Schaffartzik (5), Micic (4), Djedovic (1)|
If anyone wants to watch that game again (why?) or for the first time, it's available here:
FCBB @ Alba (telekombasketball.de)
A bit about that website: it's the new streaming service of the German basketball league. Every game can be watched live or on demand. This game was free to get people the chance to test it. From now on, it would be 10 bucks a month. I tested it yesterday, and it worked well. The quality is alright, and I didn't experience any stuttering whatsoever. Most importantly, the service is supposed to be available worldwide. I'd advise you to at least consider it as illegal (or should we call it unofficial?) streams are rare.
Anyway. The real season starts on Thursday. Bayern open the league at home against MBC, usually a mid-table team. A Bayern win is expected. The game starts at 8.30pm local time, hopefully with better shooting.